How Will You Ignite Growth?
On November 5, join Canada’s restaurant industry leaders to explore new ways to ignite growth through evolution, transformation, and innovation.
After an exciting debut in 2018, drawing over 100 C-suite executives, the Canadian Restaurant Leadership Summit will return this year with new insights about growing your business in today’s challenging restaurant marketplace. Hosted by The NPD Group and CWB Franchise Finance, this event features an impressive lineup of thought leaders who will share the latest perspectives on your industry’s most talked-about topics.
Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with senior executives from some of the most exciting brands in the Canadian restaurant landscape. You’ll hear from CEOs, culinary leaders, industry innovators, and NPD and CWB Franchise Finance experts. Discussions will range from technology and menu innovation to cannabis legalization and sustainability — plus more of the hot topics that matter to your business.
Hear from the industry’s top CEOs
Gain new insight about the digital transformation, technology, and innovation of the food business
Discover the latest investment, real estate, and growth strategies
Get informed on hot topics from sustainability to cannabis legalization
Explore the innovative, up-and-coming restaurant and menu concepts
This must-attend event kicks off the night before with a welcome cocktail reception. Join CWB Franchise Finance, The NPD Group, official media-partner Foodservice and Hospitality magazine, and our sponsors for an event you simply cannot miss!
Join us for a Welcome Cocktail Reception
to kick off the event on Nov 4 at 4:30 p.m.
401 Bay Street, Simpson Tower, 8th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M5H 2Y4 Canada
For the fifth consecutive year, industry experts will share macro trends influencing the restaurant industry. Explore the latest economic and demographic insights, consumer needs, and trend forecasts. Discover industry trends that impact restaurants from a consumer view and the financial side, and gain new perspectives on the global landscape.
This panel discussion promises to be a candid and compelling conversation with your industry's innovators. The foodservice market’s evolution makes it a real challenge to predict what the next big trend will be—there’s always a moving target. This powerful session will cover Canada’s most relevant foodservice topics, including innovation, evolution, sustainability, and technology.
In this general session, industry leaders on the forefront of the constantly evolving technology and digital frontier share their advice for how to use these new channels to ignite growth. Find out what they have learned and how to navigate these untested waters.
Using Data to Unlock Growth
In a time of rising minimum wage and slow economic growth, organizations need to find paths to sustainable growth. Discover how harnessing the power of internal and external data to guide decisions big and small is becoming tablestakes to compete—but if done right, can become a competitive advantage.
Matching the Capital to Your Growth Plan
What financing options are available to restaurant companies and owners throughout the lifecycle of their businesses? What are the long-term ramifications of selecting particular financing sources and capital structures at each stage? This panel of operators and development and finance experts will discuss matching the right capital with your growth plan, from the start-up phase to maturity, all while not jeopardizing growth and setting up for an optimal exit. The panel will also explore case studies showing how specific, successful Canadian restaurant concepts have evolved over time and look at investment from the perspective of lenders, private equity, and brand owners at different stages in the cycle.
Straight Talk: The Foodservice Legal Landscape
Hear directly from leading Canadian law firms as they discuss some of the industry’s top-of-mind subjects, including third-party delivery, labour issues, franchise legal updates, franchise legal M&A considerations, and cannabis.
Foodservice and Hospitality hosts a panel of specialists to share their insight on how they are successfully driving on-premise traffic and spend. Learn how to innovate with your on-premise experience by focusing on four key components: food, service, design, and entertainment.
Operational Excellence | Quick Fire!
Optimizing the bottom line is essential, now more than ever, as competition and operating costs in the transforming foodservice environment eat into revenue and profitability. This breakout session features a series of “Quick Fire Rounds” featuring experienced suppliers with deep expertise. Their focus is supporting operators in optimizing the bottom line through HR, labour, training, and reporting processes to deliver the consistent, agile performance demanded in this intensely competitive landscape. Add their expert perspectives to your own industry know-how and discover new ways to ignite growth.
Cannabis and Canadian Foodservice: One Year Later
Cannabis in Canada has come a long way in just one year's time, but more importantly, where is it going? We welcome the cannabis-infused Nomad Cook, Travis Petersen, to show how he is moving cannabis consumption from stigma to mainstream. Many are still operating in a fog when it comes to understanding this burgeoning market, especially when it comes to the consumer. Sharing novel insights from NPD's Cannabis Tracker, we will explore the cannabis-related behaviours of restaurant-goers and how you can capitalize on this opportunity.
The Triple Benefit: Sustainability
Discover how sustainability can benefit your top and bottom line, and, of course, the planet. A panel of experts will discuss the merits and cautions of various sustainable practices including biofuels, packaging, plant-based meat alternatives, and more.
Rising to the Top: How to Inspire, Learn, and Lead
Facing tough choices with tenacity and living up to our potential is so often easier said than done. How can we truly rise up to the occasions that challenge us? How can we harness exciting possibilities in a way that inspires others? Keynote speaker Manjit Minhas will show you how to make a difference — at work, at home, and in the lives of everyone around you. With wisdom and wit, Minhas shares her memorable experiences as an entrepreneur and leader, showing what it means to have vision, perseverance, and true teamwork — and what it means to lead.
That’s a wrap!
Robert Carter is a highly-respected consumer behaviour industry expert and a dynamic speaker with a passion for tracking trends and consumer activity. Robert is a sought-after and energetic presenter who is regularly recruited to deliver subject matter expertise on consumer behaviour trends, market activity, and operator and retailer performance. A regular keynote speaker at numerous industry events such as The Canadian Coffee Conference, The Canadian Tea Conference, The Connect Show, The Canadian Restaurant Investment Summit, and The Restaurants Canada Show, Robert is frequently quoted in major newspapers and magazines, appears on television newscasts, and writes a regular column for Foodservice and Hospitality magazine.
Ed Khediguian is Senior Vice President of Franchise Finance for Canadian Western Bank, and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the mortgage and asset-based lending business to the hotel and restaurant sectors across Canada. Ed has over 20 years of experience in the lodging, hospitality, and restaurant industries.
Prior to joining CWB, Ed led GE Capital’s Franchise Finance division for over 12 years. Prior to GE, Ed was director of a private equity fund for the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec (CDP Capital), focused on investing in the leisure and tourism industries. Prior to the Caisse, Ed was with KPMG’s Consulting and Corporate Finance group in Montreal and Toronto, focused on the Hospitality and Leisure sectors. Prior to KPMG, Ed worked for Remington Hotels Corp. out of Dallas, Texas as an asset manager.
Ed attended McGill University’s John Molson School of Business and Cornell University’s Hotel School of Management, graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce and a Masters of Management in Hospitality respectively.
Jacob is AVP, Restaurants with the Franchise Finance Division of Canadian Western Bank, overseeing all aspects of the restaurant lending business which provides financing for branded restaurant chains and professional restaurant groups on both a corporate and franchisee level. Jacob specializes in portfolio and business development for both national and regional chains.
Prior to joining CWB, Jacob spent 13 years and held several roles within GE Capital’s Franchise Finance division, including nine years in commercial and business development, two years in sales support and operations, and two years as a credit & structuring manager.
Jacob received his Bachelor of Commerce in Finance from the University of Guelph.
Rosanna Caira is the editor and publisher of Kostuch Media’s Foodservice and Hospitality and Hotelier magazines. In her capacity as editor of Canada’s two leading hospitality publications, Rosanna directs the editorial and graphic content of both publications, and is responsible for the editorial vision of the magazines, its five websites, as well as the varied tertiary products including e-newsletters, supplements, and special projects. In addition to her editorial duties, Rosanna also serves as publisher of the company, directing the strategic development of the Sales and Marketing, Production, and Circulation departments. Rosanna is the face of the magazines, representing the publications at industry functions and speaking engagements.
A highly competitive business leader with a passion for strategy, insights, analytics, and project management, Stephen Young is a proven people leader. He has an ability to build and inspire talent throughout the organization.
Stephen’s career at McDonald’s started in 2007. Over the past 11 years, he has held leadership roles within Finance, Restaurant Development, Project Management, and Strategy & Insights in the Canadian business.
In his current role as Senior Director of Strategy & Insights for Canada, Stephen’s teams are responsible for the strategic direction of the Canadian organization. They assist in the definition of key business drivers, mine consumer and business insights, and align and sequence business-driving initiatives and activations, while driving the top and bottom line through robust analytical methodologies that provide visibility and drive behaviors.
Stephen holds an Honors BAA (Geographic Analytics), MSA (Spatial Analysis), and a PMP (Project Management Professional) designation.
Travis Petersen is a West Coast native, born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia. His interest in food began at an early age. He helped his mom cook nightly which led to his strong belief in the importance of family dinner. Growing up in a diverse population and after years of travelling abroad, Travis’ interest for food and cooking grew into a passion that drove his creativity. In 2015, Travis applied to be a participant on MasterChef Canada, a Canadian competitive cooking reality show. He was selected to compete as one of the Top 40 Chefs in Canada, and from there, things started to move quickly for Travis.
After returning from MasterChef Canada with fresh insights and a greater understanding of the culinary scene and the enormous potential it held, THE NOMAD COOK was born — a culinary brand that offers unique dining experiences through cannabis-infused creations. After Canada voted to legalize recreational use of cannabis in 2018, Travis saw an opportunity and embraced the booming industry, championing the acceptance of cannabis nationwide through food. A growing brand from coast to coast, THE NOMAD COOK offers a new approach for the artist behind the plate and a platform for chefs to cultivate opportunities outside of the traditional restaurant circuit.
Larry Weinberg is a partner at the Toronto law firm of Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP. Since 1989 he has had a practice that specializes in franchise law and providing all necessary legal services to franchisors. He is a member of the International Franchise Association, where he served as a Member of the IFA Board of Directors and as Chair of its Supplier Forum Advisory Board, and the Canadian Franchise Association, where he serves on the CFA Board of Directors and as CFA General Counsel.
He is also the Immediate Past Chair of the International Bar Association’s International Franchising Committee and is a Past-Chair of the Ontario Bar Association’s Franchise Law Section. Larry was the founder of, and to date has organised and chaired four Ontario Bar Association annual franchise law conferences. He is a member of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Franchising, and in 2006, he was the first Canadian lawyer to be appointed Director of the ABA Forum’s International Division and to a leadership role on its Governing Committee. In 2009 he had the honour of being Co-chair of the ABA’s 32nd Annual Forum on Franchising conference.
Chad Finkelstein is a partner at Dale & Lessmann LLP in Toronto, and founder and chair of the firm’s Franchise Practice Group and Cannabis Practice Group. He is a transactional lawyer and a registered trademark agent, and practices in the areas of corporate law, M&A, franchise law, intellectual property law, cannabis law, information technology law, advertising/marketing law, and gaming law. In 2018, he was selected as a winner of Lexpert’s Rising Stars award, recognizing Canada’s leading lawyers under 40 years old. He has been recognized by his peers as a ranked lawyer in such publications as Lexpert, Who’s Who Legal: Canada, Chambers Canada, The Best Lawyers in Canada, and Franchise Times. He contributes to national newspapers regular columns on business, cannabis, franchising, and branding legal issues and is a regular interview subject on national TV news programs.
Christina Kuypers is an entertainment executive with over 15 years of experience in operations management, concept development, and consulting with leading hotels and restaurants in Toronto, Vancouver, Miami and Dubai. As VP of Operations & Guest Experience at Cineplex, Christina currently oversees a multi-brand portfolio of large-scale and high-volume entertainment venues across Canada. Christina is passionate about creating dynamic concepts, memorable guest experiences, and developing talent in the entertainment industry.
For 20 years Patrick has been immersed in the world of Marketing Communications. His experience spans across industries, from tourism to telecommunications, quick service restaurants to not-for-profit and consumer packaged goods and pharmaceuticals.
Patrick takes an all-in approach to his work. As a business leader he helps drive his teams through integrated, cross-discipline programs that stay grounded in sound strategy. He is experienced in seeing the job through and “landing the plane” effectively and efficiently.
When not available by phone, you can often catch him belting a Billy Joel tune at the local karaoke joint.
Darven Erickson joined the predecessor company of Cypress Five Star, Inc. in 2010. At that time, the Company operated two Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurants. Under his leadership the Company developed 55 Five Guys Burgers and Fries stores between 2011 and 2016, acquired six more in 2017, and became one of the best-operated restaurant companies in Canada. The Company secured the rights to develop Blaze Pizza in Canada and three Western U.S. states in 2015. Since that time, Cypress has opened 30 Blaze Pizza stores.
Darven brings over 30 years of business and leadership experience. He enjoys building teams, operating systems, and structures that support high-performance growth organizations. Darven holds a BS Finance degree from the Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University.
Tom Gaglardi started in the Gaglardi family business at a young age. At 23, he was promoted to President of the hotel group, and at 26 became President of Northland Properties Corporation (the family’s parent company), which is now the largest family-owned hospitality company in Canada.
Tom has been intimately involved with the expansion of the company’s portfolio of hotels, restaurants, and real estate holdings. Some highlights are the acquisition of the Moxie’s restaurant chain in 1998, which is now a national restaurant chain, and the development of the Denny’s restaurant chain across Canada.
Tom currently serves as Chairman and CEO of each of Northland’s operating companies, which includes the Sandman Hotel Group, Sutton Place Hotel Company, Chop Steakhouse & Bar Group, Shark Club Bar & Grill Group, and Revelstoke Mountain Resort, along with other hospitality companies. He is also the owner and governor of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, AHL’s Texas Stars, and the Dallas Stars Hockey Club of the NHL.
Sam Pollaro is the CEO and co-founder of Venga, a Washington, D.C.-based technology company that uses big data to help restaurants and fitness companies better understand and engage with their customers. Venga was acquired by Booking Holdings in May 2019.
Before launching Venga, Sam was the founder of Petals for the People, a subscription service for fresh flowers. Petals for the People was acquired by H Bloom, a Battery Ventures backed company in 2010.
Previously, Sam worked in private equity as a Principal at Portfolio Logic Management and a Senior Analyst at Capital Guidance Corporation, and as an Analyst at the strategy consulting firm Dean & Company.
Sam holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. He lives in Washington, DC with his son Theo.
Rachel Baptiste is Sysco Canada’s Vice President, Organizational Development & Corporate Social Responsibility. Rachel leads Canada’s CSR strategy and Advisory Council across three core pillars: People, Product, and Planet. In addition to leading CSR, Rachel’s portfolio also includes executive oversight of Talent Acquisition, Diversity & Inclusion, and Leadership Development.
Prior to joining Sysco in 2016, Rachel had over 20 years of experience in progressive leadership roles with industry leading companies, including TJX and Walmart. Her broad experience spans Retail Operations, Merchandising & Category Management, Human Resources, and Consulting.
Rachel believes in taking an innovative and holistic approach by linking people, culture, and business to activate the full potential of an organization. She is excited to be part of Sysco’s journey in Delivering a Better Tomorrow.
Jordan Boesch is the founder and CEO of 7shifts, a labour management platform for restaurants to schedule, evaluate, and communicate with their staff. Under Jordan's leadership what began as a simple tool to help his dad manage the work schedule in his restaurant has grown into a global restaurant solution trusted by over 250,000 restaurant professionals, with the mission to improve happiness and efficiency in the workplace.
Tim Faveri is Vice President, Sustainability & Shared Value at Maple Leaf Foods. In this capacity, Tim leads the development and execution of the strategy and initiatives that deeply embed sustainability and shared value into Maple Leaf’s culture and business. Sustainability and shared value provide the framework for Maple Leaf’s purpose — Raise the Good in Food.
Tim is a seasoned business and sustainability professional with 25 years’ experience. His specialties include sustainability and environmental strategy development and implementation; corporate reporting / disclosure; stakeholder engagement; and supply chain and environmental risk assessment and verification.
Prior to joining Maple Leaf, Tim was Director, Sustainability and Responsibility at Tim Hortons Inc., one of North America's largest publicly-traded restaurant chains and iconic Canadian companies.
Lori is a vocal and passionate champion of environmental and social justice issues related to food and is sought after for her expertise internationally.
Lori advised on the development of Ontario’s Food and Organic Waste Framework and is a member of the Management Board at the National Zero Waste Council — a leadership initiative that brings together governments, businesses and organizations to advance waste prevention in Canada.
As CEO for Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food rescue organization, she ensures that thousands of tons of nutrient-dense surplus food is diverted to social service agencies every year. Her current projects include The Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste, a world first evidence-based research project that identifies where, why and how much food is lost and wasted across the supply chain and the expansion of FoodRescue.ca an online tool that allows food businesses to donate surplus food to social service agencies, schools and food banks in their community.
Jennifer has been practicing commercial litigation at Osler for over 25 years. Jennifer’s practice focuses primarily on assisting franchisors from a variety of industries with their business critical disputes. She regularly defends claims by individual franchisees, as well as franchisee group and class actions. In addition to franchise matters, Jennifer has experience in intellectual property (including trademark and copyright infringement, and the protection of trade secrets and confidential information), defamation (including statements made via the Internet) and privacy matters.
She has been recognized for her strong experience with Franchise Law and ranked at: Chambers Canada since 2017, Best Lawyers in Canada since 2008, Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory since 2011, Who’s Who Legal since 2014 named as a Global Elite Thought Leader, and selected as a Franchise Times Legal Eagle since 2011.
Jennifer is an active participant in franchise organizations in Canada and the U.S. She sits on the executive of the Ontario Bar Association Franchise Law Section (she was Chair from 2016-2018), and is a member of both the Canadian Franchise Association Convention Committee and the International Franchise Association Legal Symposium Task Force. Jennifer is a frequent speaker and writer on franchise related topics, and a regular speaker and skills instructor at The Advocates’ Society.
Bradley is the CEO of CFO2, a cloud-based business analytics platform that helps management make data-driven decisions by automating the financial reporting and analysis process for multi-unit restaurants. Through 11 years of working for Scotiabank in private equity, mergers & acquisitions, and finance, he developed a compendium of finance and business strategy knowledge. He was a PE investor in a large multi-unit restaurant franchisee, where he saw the power of how a restaurant operator could improve their profitability by having better and insightful financial and operational data. In 2017, he left the bank to start CFO2. He is a graduate of The Richard Ivey School of Business and holds a CFA designation.
Born in Lahr, Germany, Chef Thomas comes from a European heritage that celebrates local and seasonal ingredients. Chef Thomas has been Kraft Heinz’s Corporate Chef for just over a year, but has brought a new wave of culinary passion to the Canadian business. In doing so, he has brought both new business and new insights to Kraft Heinz. Most recently, Chef took his culinary talent to the small screen when he competed on Food Network Canada’s Fire Masters. Thomas swept up the competition by winning the title of Fire Masters Champion!
In his remarkable career to date, Chef Thomas has covered every aspect of the hospitality industry, including hotels, restaurants, resorts, wineries, casinos, national chains, and fine dining. Everything except cruise ships! He’s cooked for everyone from Angelina Jolie, Madonna and the Black Eyed Peas to Cher, Van Halen and the Royal Family of Dubai.
Jon Kamin is the Chief Revenue Officer of Lift & Co. Until August 2018, Mr. Kamin held the position of Chief Executive Officer at viadata.io, a ground-breaking source of first-party digital user data for a variety of enterprise clients in financial services, direct-to-consumer insurance, and retail. The company was a result of a transformation from yconic.com, a longstanding leader in Canadian student-segment marketing where Mr. Kamin was Managing Director, and which was successfully sold to Leger Market Research.
Prior to this, Mr. Kamin held the role of General Manager of the Recreational and Commercial business unit at autoTRADER.ca, where he delivered successful customer and revenue growth of +65% over a three-year period. Mr. Kamin also held a variety of positions at Torstar Corporation, culminating in his leadership of the company's digital automotive portfolio. Prior to Torstar, Mr. Kamin was a Consultant at Bain & Company, a leading strategy consulting firm. Mr. Kamin holds an MBA from the Rotman School at the University of Toronto.
As the President and General Manager for KFC Canada at Yum! Brands, Nivera is responsible for running all facets of the Canadian business. She has a proven track record of driving sales and new development growth for the KFC brand in Canada. In her previous role, Nivera served as the Chief Financial Officer. Her earlier positions included Controller, and Manager, Financial Planning for KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell Canada.
Prior to joining the Yum! family, Nivera served in various financial management positions at Schneider Electric and Loblaw Companies Limited. She holds an honours degree in Management and Economics from the University of Toronto. Nivera is a designated CA, CPA and holds a Certified Public Accountant designation form the Illinois CPA Society.
The greatest lesson Wallani has learned in her professional career is to never underestimate what can be accomplished and have the courage to go after it. Being bold in business is a mindset that she believes must be encouraged and supported by all positions of the organization. There isn’t a day that goes by that she isn’t excited to go to work because of the people she works with and the company’s world-renowned culture.
Outside of work, Nivera stays busy spending time with her family, including her two children, and being involved in various women’s programs and charitable initiatives.
For more than a decade, Matthew Borges has been helping Boston Pizza make smarter decisions through the use of data and analytics. From his beginning in real estate analysis, to his work on marketing analytics, consumer insights, and menu strategy, Matthew has worked with data across multiple functions to drive intelligence for Canada’s #1 casual dining restaurant brand. The director of insights and category management at Boston Pizza blends transactional data with market research to provide a more complete picture of the story.
Terry Secord, a Toronto-based hospitality consultant, has worked in senior operations roles for over 30 years. His career spans experience running independent restaurants, hotel operations, and multi-unit concept development.
After starting his own consulting firm, Terry has partnered with a broad range of dynamic organizations. He has played a significant role in leadership development, strategic planning, and operational excellence at companies such as Sheraton Hotels, Milestone’s Restaurants, CARA (Recipe Unlimited), Service Inspired Restaurants, and Les 3 Brasseurs.
Terry is recognized as a skilled people and talent developer. His current consulting work involves establishing leadership environments that provide brand clarity, a culture of dialogue, impactful metrics, and best-in-class customer experiences. He enjoys working with a variety of owners, managers, and partners to achieve their growth potential in companies with sales from $1 to $100 million in annual revenues.
Terry volunteers on several boards and is a graduate of Ryerson University's Hospitality & Tourism Program.
A renowned Canadian chef with a career spanning over 30 years, Brad Long is a pioneer in advocating ethical, local, organic, and sustainable practices from dirt to dish and a strong, vocal leader in the national food scene. Long is currently chef and owner of Café Belong and Belong Catering, where his understanding of food is reflected in the fresh, delicious fare he procures and serves every day. Belong is a Certified B Corporation. Long’s earlier accomplishments range from rebuilding the food and beverage program at the CN Tower to creating the culinary programs for the Air Canada Centre and one of Toronto’s finest dining rooms, The Platinum Club, as well as building a world street food program for Toronto FC’s BMO Field.
As an experienced executive manager and leader, Long is often sought after to share his knowledge and passion for good food. His humour and expertise was tapped as cohost of Food Network’s hit show Restaurant Makeover. Born and raised in the lakeside community of Port Dover, Ontario, eating locally grown food as a simple fact of family life, Long never strays from his deeply rooted belief that “Food is fuel, food is medicine, food is love.”
As a judge on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, Manjit Minhas shares business lessons with equal parts force and finesse. An entrepreneur herself, Minhas runs the 10th largest brewery in the world—worth a whopping 187 million dollars. Her unprecedented success in a male-dominated field demolished stereotypes, surprised competitors, and cleared a path for entrepreneurs of every age and gender. In talks, she distills the hands-on lessons of her success, showing audiences how they can embrace change, defy expectations, and incentivize disruption.
Andrew Lavers is the Distribution Manager & Environmental Initiatives Leader at A&W Canada. Having been with the company for just over four years, Andrew has spent his time in the Purchasing & Distribution department at A&W through coordinating and management roles overseeing their Canadian distribution network for their 960+ (and growing) restaurants. In addition, he’s cycled through a number of hats that included purchasing portfolios and brand premium and promotional goods management. All throughout this time, Andrew has also sat on a number of cross-departmental working groups and strategic teams, including Business Process Transformation and, for the longest duration, Environmental Leadership. Andrew assumed leadership of A&W’s environmental initiatives earlier this year and now leads a cross-functional working group made up of members of multiple departments to continue to push A&W forward on its environmental journey.
In 2006, Dr. Mohamad Fakih, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist, purchased a nearly bankrupt restaurant and transformed it into what is now known as the fastest-growing Middle Eastern Halal restaurant chain in North America — Paramount Fine Foods. Mohamad’s determination to change perceptions surrounding Middle Eastern food has driven Paramount’s brand success across Canada and internationally, and it has advanced the global Middle Eastern food trend.
Paramount currently employs over 2,000 people across its 71 restaurants and gourmet butcher shops globally, with 42 in Canada and 12 international locations, plus food factories and its Toronto international corporate head office.
Dr. Fakih is a strategic and successful business leader who employs his skills, expertise and experience into expanding Paramount’s brand to pioneer the halal market globally. He believes this can only be achieved by sharing his vision, knowledge, and expertise with his management teams and franchisees in every country where he opens locations.
Richard Southern is an award-winning reporter and has been with 680 NEWS since 2007. His unique take on business news is heard every half an hour during the afternoon drive on 680 NEWS as well as on Rogers radio stations across the country, from Vancouver to Halifax. Richard also hosts the nightly business report on CityNews and is often seen on City's Breakfast Television. In the past he's reported for Primetime Sports with Bob McCown and has been heard on CNN radio.
Richard prides himself on putting a fun spin on business news, making it accessible and interesting to everyone. He joined 680 NEWS as an anchor and reporter. Memorable stories include the August 2008 Toronto propane explosion. Richard was the first to report on the blast and was one of the first reporters on the scene. He's a graduate of Toronto's Seneca College and in his spare time enjoys watching the Blue Jays and travelling.
Matthew Banton began his professional career at Burger King in July 2011. Throughout his time with Burger King, Mr. Banton had several marketing roles within the company, including Lead of Innovation for North America. In September 2017, Mr. Banton joined Tim Hortons as Head of Marketing for the U.S. Today, he is Head of Tim Hortons Global Product Excellence and Packaging teams.
Dimitri Mazur has over 10 years of commercial lending and structured financing experience across various industries in Canada. Since 2011, Dimitri’s focus has concentrated on branded restaurant financing within the quick and full-service sector, facilitating take-outs, acquisitions, new constructions, relocations, conversions, and restructures.
Evolving in recent years, Dimitri has also closed numerous corporate transactions with privately held regional restaurant groups of the “branded/non-branded, chain/non-chain” type. Within his comprehensive portfolio, Dimitri additionally manages all restaurant financing in the province of Quebec.
Dimitri holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto, with two degrees, in Economics and French Literature.
With over 17 years of experience in commercial lending, Trish Halliwell brings diverse cross-functional expertise spanning sales, risk, portfolio management and operations to her role as Senior Manager, Restaurant Finance. Trish has developed relationships and created customized financing programs with restaurant chains across Canada, in addition to establishing lending solutions for both corporate and franchisee-level transactions in the casual dining and quick service segments.
Trish previously held roles with GE Capital in Risk as a structuring manager for the hospitality finance group, as well as a sales portfolio manager, where she led the management, oversight and control of GE’s portfolio of restaurant and hotel loans.
Trish holds an honour Bachelor of Commerce degree with a major in marketing from the University of Guelph.
Mustafa Yusuf is a restaurant industry veteran who has earned his way up the corporate ladder from dishwasher to CEO. Relying on 25+ years of hands-on restaurant experience, Mustafa sharpened his skills at two highly accredited restaurants (The Keg Steakhouse & Bar and The Drake) before he realized his entrepreneurial spirit and opened up his first Big Smoke Burger in 2006. Big Smoke Burger grew from a single, 16-seat restaurant location opened at King Street, Toronto to 18 locations in 5 different countries, before the business was sold in 2016. Following that, Mustafa launched FLOCK Rotisserie + Greens, a fast casual concept focused on consistently exceeding guest expectations by delivering truly exceptional and distinctive food using only the freshest, highest-quality ingredients.
With a focus on business development, sales and marketing, David Sorger is a strategic problem-solver who has held several C-level and executive positions in organizations across a number of industries, including foodservice, consumer packaged goods, and technology.
Currently, David is President of Smooth Commerce, inspiring a new world of commerce and engagement by empowering business to enhance customer value through their all-in-one turnkey platform. The platform powers white-label mobile and web apps with payment, loyalty, ordering, ticketing and direct marketing, seamlessly integrating with clients’ technology operations.
David’s experience includes President/CEO at Kingsmill Foods, partnering with organizations such as Tim Horton’s, Nestle, Kraft and Second Cup; Chief Strategy Officer at ChannelAssist, leading programs for HP, Rogers and Toshiba; CEO of XMTrade.ca and CEO of OtolaneSoft Corporation, both leading mobile online auction platforms for auto dealers; and founding Sorger & Company Inc., a consulting practice with clients including OTEC Research/GP8 Sportwater, Teaopia (acquired by Starbucks), XELA Enterprises, and MTY Group.
As Vice President-Western Canada of Restaurants Canada, Mark von Schellwitz combined two of his passions: the hospitality industry and public affairs.
In 1997, Mark accepted a government affairs manager position with Canada’s largest hospitality industry association, the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association. In 2001, Mark was appointed the association’s Vice President for Western Canada. In 2014, the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association rebranded and is now known as Restaurants Canada.
Mark’s work on numerous public policy issues in BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan over the years has helped association members in the challenging foodservices industry grow and prosper. Mark continues to be a strong advocate for the hospitality industry and represents the industry on numerous small business and tourism-related organization boards and committees. Mark is past Chairman of the Coalition of BC Businesses and of Go2 (BC’s resource for people in tourism).
Harry Selvarajan is an Associate at Waypoint Investment Partners, a multi-disciplinary asset manager focused on deploying long-term capital in both the public and private equity domains. Harry oversees all aspects of the restaurant direct investing platform within the group and has over eight years of experience within the hospitality sector. In addition, Harry currently holds a strategic advisory role at Nanda Hospitality Group, the largest multi-unit operator within the Recipe Unlimited System (TSX:RECP).
Prior to joining Waypoint Investment Partners, Harry held roles at Gluskin Sheff & Associates & Sentry Investments as an Equity Analyst, and Barclays Capital as an Investment Banking Analyst. During this time he was involved in corporate strategy, assessing capital allocation policy, and underwriting strategic investments across a variety of sectors.
Harry received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance, with high distinction, and was awarded the Alumni Gold Medal for graduating in the top percentile of his class from the Lazaridis School of Business at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Pamela Nalewajek joined Dairy Farmers of Canada as Vice-President, Marketing in March 2019. Pamela has extensive experience in the dairy industry, spending over 15 years at Saputo in various leadership positions within its marketing division. She is recognized as a respected and talented leader in the dairy industry, driving strategic initiatives and motivating and mobilizing teams to tackle large scale/complex projects while driving results.
Her career spans over 20 years, during which she’s acquired experience in strategic business development, brand awareness, marketing management, profit & loss management, advertising, consumer engagement, market research, budget management, product import strategies, packaging, and product development.
Faye has been at Uber since 2015, when she was a member of the founding team that launched Uber Eats in Toronto (a global first!). Prior to her time at Uber, Faye spent her career in food and hospitality, having worked in brand management for: wine & spirit brands, quick service restaurants, and consumer packaged goods.
As the president of Gusto 54 Restaurant Group, Juanita’s passion for brand loyalty, exceptional customer experience, and culture as king is what guides her direction.
When appointed in 2014, her mandate was to transition the group from owning a couple of restaurants in Toronto to becoming a global restaurant group. She is responsible for establishing the Gusto 54 brand and expanding it beyond the existing restaurant experiences in a scalable and sustainable way.
Since joining as president in 2014, the company has transitioned from 3 to 10 concepts and has received international acclaim. She oversees the development and launch of new business opportunities, like the Gusto 54 product line, catering division, partnership agreements, real estate acquisition, transporting concepts, and overall restaurant expansion in both Canada and the United States.
Juanita is often on the speaker circuit talking about branding, women in leadership, customer experience, employee experience, and overall culture building. She has a contagious entrepreneurial spirit that turns a strong vision into reality in a journey that is fun, collaborative, and as quick as they come!
Gary Black joined Recipe Unlimited Corporation in August 2016 in the newly created chief technology officer role. As CTO, Gary is responsible for all technologies used at Recipe in its corporate head offices, data centres, and in more than 1,300 restaurant locations across Canada. Gary manages a team including software development, big data and data analytics, IT infrastructure, and IT applications.
Over his 20+ year career, Gary has established a reputation for entrepreneurial innovation which allows him to strategize beyond immediate, tactical requirements to build technological infrastructures that meet business needs today and in the future. Gary’s experience spans several organizations including TD Canada Trust, DoubleClick (now Google), Truition, and CDC Ecommerce, where he held progressively senior leadership positions and excelled in startup, e-commerce, and online marketing technology software development and technology operations.
Gary holds a degree in Computer Science from the University of Toronto.
Lisa Campbell became a true cannabis expert by working extensively in international drug policy with Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy. She is currently the co-chair of the Cannabis Beverage Producers Alliance. Lisa is founder and CEO of Lifford Cannabis Solutions, helping cannabis companies come to market across Canada, leveraging Lifford’s national sales force and longstanding partnerships with provincial control boards. Lisa holds a Master of Environmental Studies from York University and is a Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) Universities Without Walls alumna.
Jason Leeson first used a Squirrel POS terminal back in the early ‘90s while working as a waiter to put himself through university. After graduating with a Bachelor of Computer Science from the University of Manitoba, he began an exciting career that has included stints as an early-stage employee, co-founder, and executive at several successful technology companies in Vancouver and Silicon Valley. Jason has since come full circle and, after also completing an Executive MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business, he is proud to once again be working with Squirrel—this time as president, where he leads a pioneering team that develops innovative technology solutions for restaurants, hotels, bars, and other foodservice operators.
As consumer tastes change and the retail landscape evolves, new business opportunities and threats abound. We offer data, industry expertise, and prescriptive analytics to help our clients grow their businesses in a changing world.
More than 2,000 companies worldwide rely on us to help them measure, predict, and improve performance across all channels. They trust us to benchmark performance, guide strategic decision making, and find the best actions to take regarding pricing, product management, new product innovation, assortment, and customer segmentation.
The members of the CWB Franchise Finance team are experts in serving leading hotel owners and providing both corporate franchisor and franchisee-level financing for prominent restaurant brands in Canada. We believe in getting to know the operations, opportunities, and challenges of each of our clients so we are able to provide them with customized, flexible financing solutions that will help them achieve their business goals. CWB Franchise Finance is a division of Canadian Western Bank.
Contact our Sponsorship Director,
Leanne George, or call 647-291-5140
401 Bay Street
Simpson Tower, 8th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M5H 2Y4 Canada
NPD account representative,
Erick Bauer, or call 647-723-7736
CWB Franchise Finance account representative,
Jacob Mancini, or call 289-998-0277
Coming from out of town?
A block of rooms at the Marriott Downtown at CF Toronto Eaton Centre can be reserved for November 4 at a discounted rate.
Make your room reservation by October 18.
Click here or call 1-800-905-0667.
Mention the Canadian Restaurant Leadership Summit.